Students’ demand: tear down the library mural

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Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff.

As the lights dim in the Munday Library and the evening stretch of studying falls toward midnight, the monolithic mural towards the entrance of the library becomes lit and beaming with its, we would have to admit, atrocities.

The mural is called “More than Words” and was created by Dana Frankfort. She was commissioned by a committee who only considered artists suggested by the Wingarten Art Group which acted as a consultant. This committee should have considered letting a member of the St. Edward’s community create a piece of art that truly represents the school.

Letting a student create the mural in library would not have been a conflict of interest, instead it would have been good for both the school and the student. The school would be able to point out that they are willing to let students make a major impact at the school, and for that student it would have been a great way to have a published work of art in their portfolio.

If the committee would have selected a student it would have been a great way to teach the artist the guiding principles of our university— the Holy Cross tenets. 

A student, professor, or even an alumni should have been the first option that was considered when commissioning the mural because it’s their school. An outsider could not have been able to exemplify the mission and principles of St. Edward’s like members of our community could do.

There are genres in art, like in music, and it could be argued that “More than Words” falls under the so-called “ignorant art.” This is a sub-sect of painting where we find Jean-Michel Basquiat and Frida Kahlo, two great and giant recent artists in the scope of art history. 

To admit this is unnerving, but Frankfort, ignorant or not, is hardly an artist.

Unlike Basquiat, whose careful attention to chaos, color, and child-like introspection creates a thought rousing mess, “More than Words” is streaked with inactive and unattractive white space. 

It is very likely that the reason Frankfort’s work is hanging in our library is because it is uncontroversial, in addition to most likely being very cheap.

However, “word” art, not to be confused with the Microsoft Word attributes, is a great idea for the Munday Library.  Something that may be more successful is the art of Miranda July. Her visual art exhibition also contains text in an attempt to comment on language itself, as well as a broader understanding of the way people communicate and connect. It is this largeness of ideas and interactivity that makes July’s work successful. This kind of interactive, language related art would be exciting for our library.

The biggest failure with Frankfort’s “More than Words” is that it lacks a clear idea. Some successful paintings may be ambiguous such as “The Mona Lisa,” but at least an idea can be extracted from the work. Frankfort’s painting is difficult to even interpret.

“More than Words,” has a vague statement. This vagueness in the frame of poor form is what makes the Munday Library mural unattractive.

In the words of President Ronald Reagan, “tear down this wall.”